Political Reporter-Simba Moyo

The United States of America recently further tightened its security on Zimbabweans who want to use its Public Affairs Section (library) by abolishing the bringing in of laptops and cell phones.

The move is believed to be one of the security measures of safeguarding information by the White House.

Although, there seem to be no official communication with general public in that regard yet, there is a notice at the entrance confirming the move. Once you bring the unwanted items the security details at the entrance will not allow you in.

Visitors used to be allowed to bring in their gadgets into the library as they work and do research, but this is now a thing of the past, as they are now expected to use the embassy’s desktops. Before this latest development, the only item that was not allowed at that time was to use flash-sticks on the library computers, probably for the fear of viruses.

At the same time, Zimbabwe/ USA relations has not been that smooth-sailing, it soured decades ago when the country embarked on the violent land reform programme that was supposedly meant to correct the colonial imbalances.

Zimbabwe government is also accused of being violators of human rights.

However, on the diplomacy table, the two nations have in recent times expressed commitment to improve bilateral relations. The Southern African country says it remains optimistic on the engagement with the United States so as to improve economic relations which froze over two decades ago.

Addressing the media after meeting visiting Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of African Affairs in the United States State Department Carol O’Connell last Tuesday, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the re-engage discussion were ongoing.

“We discussed the sanctions issue; we discussed American assistance in the health and educational system through USAID. We discussed and briefed them on our economic reform agenda and the progress we are making on that front,” said Chinamasa.

He added that the United States is also anticipating further engagement with Zimbabwe, with the Bureau in African Affairs, indicating that there is an opportunity for further engagement between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been providing humanitarian assistance for Southern Africa in response to the drought affecting the region. Zimbabwe last year was promised $54.5 million, representing 42.5 per cent, of the overall funding promised to Southern Africa.